A time to pray and remember
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns, Top Stories

A time to pray and remember

February 20, 2024

Men behind city’s perfumed enterprise

February 14th every year is Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love and romance. And February 16th every year is a day to celebrate anniversary of city’s “eccentric” evening english newspaper — Star of Mysore (SOM). Yes, eccentric is the word used by the famous Tourist Guide book of Australia the “Lonely Planet”. A mark of recognition of SOM  as an interesting newspaper. The guide book asks its readers not to miss reading SOM while in Mysuru!

The avoirdupois 64-page tabloid on its 47th year of publication weighed heavy on the delicate hands of our readers, but it was unputdownable for the addicts. In fact I, yours truly, as one who sired SOM, was in for a surprise not for its size, colour or weight but for an unusual advertisement that sang paeans about  SOM and what it means for  Mysureans per se.

The heavenly muse seems to have possessed the copy writ- er of that advertisement who wrote a full page of poem in six quartets crowned with a title ‘An Ode to Mysore’s Evening Star.’

The advertiser, Cycle Pure Agarbathi, is celebrating 75 years. A perfumed product born in 1948 paying tribute to a knowledge product Star of Mysore born in 1978. Jai ho, two great iconic merchandise of the regal city of Mysuru.

While Ranga Rao & Sons, the manufacturers of varieties of perfumed products is spreading the fragrance across the world, it is also into the future with Aerospace products. In contrast, SOM remains the sentinel of Mysuru city as its watchdog and a purveyor of news and views on its heritage and development.

While Cycle Pure Agarbathi may lead you to prayer, SOM may lead you to knowledge. And knowledge is power. Power corrupts because it is its nature. To rein in power, prayer is the panacea and Agarbathi      is the enabler.

Now having rambled on the power of knowledge and the daily need to pray in our life, let me share with my readers the cause for picking up this one advertisement for cud-chewing in this Abracadabra. Let me as- sure, it is not the advertisement nor the flattering poem that impelled me to ink my thoughts here. It is that cute, little book adorned and enlivened with enticing beautiful water-colour pictures illustrating its contents.

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This book (see pic.) that has the appearance of a prayer book one finds in 5-Star hotels came to me a couple of days back in a gift hamper from Arjun Ranga, the CEO of Ranga Rao & Sons. In the past I used to get an impeccably packed box of Agarbathis but this year it was different and instinctively I took charge of the gift hamper and began to undress it layer by layer till this book was revealed. The title: ‘From Mysuru to the World’ by its once moving spirit and now the Chairman and Mentor R. Guru.

The book, very richly produced, can be called Rangayana, like our epic Ramayana, because it is about the life and struggle of NR Group’s Founder Narayanachar Ranga Rao. A biography by his eldest son R. Guru.

Like any autobiography or    biography, this book too, like nature is only half revealed. That said, it is well written and easily readable.

There is much in N. Ranga Rao’s life to learn for those born poor but with big dreams. Rome was not built in a day so also NR Group we see today was not built upon the foundation already laid by others. There was so much of struggle behind this great success. The second and third generation would be either running the show as usual or will build upon the past and expand the industry. And with competent new generation at the helm, the enterprise is headed for greater glory.

The company is galloping to win more laurels as a leader in the Agarbathi and perfumery industry in India under its young and dynamic CEO Arjun Ranga, the cricket freak who owns the Mysore Warriors (KPL team). However, it was R. Guru the eldest son among the nine siblings who bore the brunt of birth pangs of business in its early days by discontinuing his college studies.

Of course, later he completed his BA degree through distance learning from Karnataka State Open University (KSOU). How- ever, Guru writes that it was his younger brother R.N. Murthy’s entry that took the business to greater heights with his innovative ideas in marketing. Yes, Murthy had studied about per- fumes and the business paradigm in France known for fashion and perfumes.

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Guru quotes from his father’s 1977 diary that could be a moral precept for any family. It says, “I am the only Agarbathi manufacturer in Mysore who lives with his sons under one roof. We have one kitchen and we eat and pray together. I have done my duty as a father by educating them and celebrating their marriage.” Reading this, I am reminded of Father Denis Noronha, who was once a household name as a Priest and Correspondent of Mysore Diocesan Educational Society (MDES), which runs St. Joseph’s Educational Institutions.

An amiable, always smiling Catholic Priest. Once I had invited him for dinner at home and while leaving he gave a mini-sermon thanking my family. “Let us remember that the family that eats together stays together. Also, the family that prays together stays together.” I said Amen.

Writing about the passing away of his father in 1980, R. Guru alludes to his Physician-friend Dr. K.B. Subbaiah, who is my elder brother and Dr. C.D. Sreenivasa Murthy, who is my doctor too and at whose timely diagnosis and advice, I could be here now writing this article.

Conscious of such a wonderful, rich inheritance, the grateful children of N. Ranga Rao decided to perpetuate the patriarch’s memory by using the first part of his name ‘Ranga’ as a surname to their children’s name. So we have R.N.  Murthy’s son named Arjun  Ranga, the present CEO. What a noble thought and expression of sentiment.

The NR Group has been dis- charging its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) even be- fore the law in this regard came into being. They are supporting sporting talents (specially cricket), running a FREE residential school for the visually impaired girls, running a FREE skill development centre, sacred tree planting at temples, FREE cleft-lip surgeries and many other community services.

May the legacy of Cycle Pure Agarbathi in leading people to pray and live in the spirit of Kalpavruksha and Kamadenu continue.

Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah

e-mail: [email protected]


Mysuru’s favorite and largest circulated English evening daily has kept the citizens of Mysuru informed and entertained since 1978. Over the past 45 years, Star of Mysore has been the newspaper that Mysureans reach for every evening to know about the happenings in Mysuru city. The newspaper has feature rich articles and dedicated pages targeted at readers across the demographic spectrum of Mysuru city. With a readership of over 2,50,000 Star of Mysore has been the best connection between it’s readers and their leaders; between advertisers and customers; between Mysuru and Mysureans.


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